Dr Adam Mosley

About Me

I read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University as an undergraduate, studying physics, chemistry, biochemistry and pharmacology, before deciding that I preferred libraries and museums to laboratories. After studying for an MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science, I embarked on a PhD in the history of early modern astronomy. I was Jane Eliza Proctor Fellow at Princeton University, 1999-2000, and a Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, 2000-2004, with an affiliation to the Cambridge University Department of History and Philosophy of Science. I have retained that affiliation since arriving in Swansea in January 2004.

I served on the Council of the British Society for the History of Science between 2006 and 2009, and was Reviews Editor for British Journal for the History of Science from mid-2010 until mid-2015.

I was a Visiting Fellow at CRASSH (Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities) and Wolfson College, of the University of Cambridge, in Michaelmas Term 2007. During the academic year 2015-2016, I shall be a Dibner Research Fellow in the History of Science & Technology at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

Areas of Expertise

  • early modern astronomy
  • early modern science
  • cosmography
  • book history
  • history of museums
  • material culture of the sciences


  1. After Tycho: Philippist astronomy and cosmology in the work of Brahe’s Scandinavian assistants. In Ole Peter Grell & Andrew Cunningham (Ed.), Medicine, natural philosophy and religion in post-Reformation Scandinavia. Aldershot: Ashgate.
  2. & Christoph Rothmann's Discourse on the Comet of 1585: An Edition and Translation with Accompanying Essays. Leiden: Brill.
  3. & 'Astronomy and Astrology'. In Philip Ford (†), Jan Bloemendal and Charles Fantazzi (Ed.), Brill's Encyclopaedia of the Neo-Latin World. (pp. 667-677). Leiden: Brill.
  4. 'Past Portents Predict: Cometary Historiae and Catalogues in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries'. In Dario Tessicini and Patrick J. Boner (Ed.), Celestial Novelties on the Eve of the Scientific Revolution 1540-1630. (pp. 1-32). Florence: Leo S. Olschki.
  5. 'Reading the Heavens: Observation and Interpretation of Astronomical Phenomena in Learned Letters c. 1600'. In van Miert, Dirk (Ed.), Communicating Observations in Early Modern Letters (1500-1675): Epistolography and Epistemology in the Age of Scientific Revolution. (pp. 115-134). London: The Warburg Institute.

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  • HI-M01 Historical Methods and Approaches

    This module provides training in advanced historical research. It is designed to introduce students to methods of historical investigation, writing, and presentation, and to important historical resources (including archives, collections of sources, and museums). Attention will be given to the use of IT in historical work work as well as more traditional paper-based methods.

  • HI-M38 New Departures in the Writing of History

    This module provides an introduction to advanced historiography. It is designed to develop students’ awareness of traditional historiographical concerns alongside their knowledge current trends and new directions in writing and thinking about the past.

  • HI-M39 Research Folder

    This module is designed to help students to identify a dissertation topic appropriate to their interests and expertise, and to tackle the problems of methodology, develop the research techniques, and undertake the project planning which are the necessary preliminaries to researching and writing a 20,000 word dissertation.

  • HI-M53 From Princely Possessions to Public Museums: A History of Collecting and Display

    The public museums, libraries and galleries of the modern era first emerged from the princely and scholarly collections of the early modern period. Students taking this module will look at the various motivations for collecting from the late middle ages onwards, examine the different types of collection that resulted, and consider how those collections that have survived became accessible to the public. Particular emphasis will be placed on the role of display in the culture of collecting. Throughout their history collections have been displayed, but the reasons for doing so, and the size and nature of the audience to whom they have been shown, have varied over time and according to setting. The module will therefore provide an opportunity to consider what lessons and values have been and are being conveyed by collections, from princely Kunstkammern of the sixteenth century to national and local museums of the twenty-first century.

  • HI-M80 Directed Reading in History

    Under the guidance of an expert supervisor, students analyse developments in research and historiography relating to a topic in History which they choose from a wide range of options.

  • HIH240 Europe 1500-1650: Renaissance, Reformation and Religious War

    This course examines the turbulent period in the history of Europe (including Britain), which encompassed the spread of Renaissance artistic and literary values beyond the Italian peninsula, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and conflicts such as the French Wars of Religion, the Dutch Revolt, and the Thirty Years’ War. The module will explore not only the political significance of these events, and their effects on the ruling classes, but also their implications for wider European society and culture. Particular attention will be paid to using the knowledge acquired to understand written and visual sources produced in the period.

  • HIHD00 Heritage Dissertation (Practice-Based)

    This module affords students the opportunity to complete their MA in Heritage by undertaking a practical heritage project. The project, worth 67% of the marks, may be undertaken independently, or via a placement with a heritage project or organisation. It will be accompanied by a reflective commentary worth 33% of the marks.

  • HIHD01 Heritage Dissertation (Written)

    Students produce a dissertation on a heritage topic, chosen and developed in conjunction with their supervisor in line with the standard College MA requirements.

  • HIHM04 Heritage Work Placement

    This module enables students to gain practical experience of working with a heritage organisation or project in a graduate-level role. Placements may involve the acquisition of skills in museum work, community projects, heritage interpretation and policy (but are not restricted to these areas). Group discussion and individual tutorials will support students in preparing an extended essay reflecting on their work experience in the context of literature on heritage and public history.


  • British gardens, c.1550-c.1650. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Professor Deborah Youngs
  • Calculating Value: Using and Collecting the Tools of Early Modern Mathematics (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Professor David Turner